Tea Party Fireworks: Speaker Rips McCain, Obama, 'Cult of Multiculturalism'

Convention spokesman Mark Skoda acknowledged Wednesday that Phillips and his wife, Sherry Phillips, founders of the for-profit Tea Party Nation Inc., will "make a few bucks" on the event. But Skoda questioned why that should be anyone's concern.

"Have we gone so far in the Obama-socialist view of the nation that 'profit' is a bad word -- in particular, if we're using it to advance the conservative cause?" Skoda asked.

The convention plans to feature a lecture called, "Correlations Between the Current Administration and Marxist dictators in Latin America."

Who Owns This Weekend's The Tea Party Convention?

The spokesman said the proceeds would be used to fund upcoming Tea Party nation events.

Politico reported last month that the former Alaska governor would receive as much as $100,000 to address the convention.

But Palin wrote in a USA Today op-ed article Wednesday that she would "not benefit financially" from the event, pledging to throw any compensation she would receive "right back to the cause."

As she no longer serves in office, Palin is free to accept the speaking fee without encountering any legal issues. But two sitting members of congress, Rep. Michelle Bachman R-Minn., and Rep. Marsha Blackburn R-Tenn., pulled out of the event late last month citing concern over House ethics rules.

While initially restricting access to the convention to a select number of news organizations, like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and World Net Daily, organizers announced this week that Palin's speech would be aired on cable and the Internet, allowing a broader audience to hear the former governor's address.

"We will have transparency that, frankly, is surprising to many people," Skoda said.

Palin addressed the controversy surrounding the convention in her USA Today piece.

"As with all grass roots efforts, the nature of this movement means that sometimes the debates are loud and the organization is messier than that of a polished, controlled machine," she wrote, saying she "thought long and hard about my participation," before deciding to honor her commitment to attend.

Ahead of Palin's speech, several breakout sessions are planned for Friday, under titles such as "Technology in the Tea Party Movement," "Defeating Liberalism Via the Primary Process" and "Why Christians Must Engage."

"This convention is a way to galvanize the conservative movement in a way that the general rallies do not," Skoda said. "We have seen a maturing of the movement to the point of moving protests into activism. And that activism is starting to drive results in elections."

On Saturday morning, Skoda will take part in a panel discussion entitled, "Where the Tea Party Movement Goes From Here."

That title poses a good question. Despite the fact that the Phillipses are hosting an event that nominally claims to be "the" national Tea Party convention, there is still no national organization, nor any head of the movement. It claims to have several founders.

Dale Robertson, for instance, said he's been leading the Tea Party effort "longer than anybody else," having created the Web site teaparty.org a year before the first anti-stimulus Tea Parties began in 2009.

Still, he doesn't begrudge the Phillipses for claiming that his Nashville event is a national affair.

"I mean, a name is just a name. It's just a marketing thing," Robertson said Wednesday from his home in East Texas.

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